From the South Side of Chicago, Novatore is known for his hardcore, hip hop style. You have probably seen his branding on a shirt at a local venue, in one of Chicago’s night life neighborhoods. Killin the mic with raw lyricism, filled with street wisdom and sinister thoughts, over heavy, boom bap influenced beats. Just recently releasing his latest LP, EMBRACE THE DARKNESS, you get a wild peak of what he has crafting in his mind.
With lyricism and flow that attracts fans and artists of underground and 90’s hip hop and boom bap, his skill eventually allowed him to work and perform with legendary artists Mobb Depp, Immortal Technique, Apathy & Celph Titled of Demigodz, and more. His circle also consists of some lyrically heavy, local Chicago artists. Inviting a few friends on board to add their verses into the album, MOECYRUS, Termanology, AC Delgado, The God Fahim, iLL Zakiel and Celph Titled, all compliment the energy of this the project.
Looking at the song titles itself, its looking like a wild ride, but to EMBRACE THE DARKNESS is what this is about. With production by C Lance, it goes by smoothly, and the lyricism keeps you entertained. “I’m trying to spit dope, but most of ya’ll don’t notice. I’m consistent with the wicked sick shit, I never broke the focus. Trying to invoke hope? Nah, im tryin to choke throats. Sometimes I spit to crickets, but I’m as rare as a locust.” And that is only to start off, VENOM off the bat gives you a taste of the dark nature of the this LP. If heavy on the beats and lyrics is how you like it, EMBRACE THE DARKNESS.
Coming in with a smooth intro, as if you need a moment to prepare for whats about to drop. Demo Ramirez & SaveOne come together to create nothing but hits on their collaborative album MERCILESS, going back to back on 10 tracks and a few instrumentals. Set up like an audio movie, it has its highs and lows, introspective and hype lyricism, and even skits to really settle the vibe. Having been in the game for a minute, they have perfected their message and delivery.
To understand their message, you have to know where these two minds come from, right here in the city of Chicago, where life travels in many degrees. Drawn to Hip Hop by their environments, Demo, who gets his name from the Greek word demoz, or “for the people,” got into graffiti at the age of 8, which goes hand in hand with Hip Hop culture more or less. Started rapping at 10, performing live at 13, and pumping out albums by 18, this artist is his own influence, making moves straight from the get go. He has earned and maintained the title, the Future of the Bario, for a reason; his ambition taking him as far as opening up for Wu Tang Clan‘s Raekwon.
SaveOne performing as early as 2014 has some respect & recognition from the hip hop community. Frequenting the mecca of hip hop in Chicago’s underground, Subterranean, to bust out some freestyle chops. With releases going back 5 years, collaborating with local artists like Dreamtek & Doomsday, he also brings another talent aside from his lyricism. He figured if he can kill it on the mic, he can kill it on production, SaveOne exercising both of his talents on MERCILESS with Demo.
Preparing the listener with a instrumental to start, because VINTAGE comes in hot. Demo fires in, and true to his Mexicano heritage, ties in some Spanish for some extra spice, going back to back with SaveOne boasting braggadocios lyricism. They go even further with NO FEAR, “What makes you think that I fear you? I can hear your heart pumping everytime I get near you. It won’t take much to disappear you…” Followed by SaveOne describing his street wisdom, “My pops taught how to run the streets and be a felon, the number one rule in the game is don’t be tellin‘.” This is even followed up by a skit, an altercation ending up in shots fired, a real audio metaphor for the savage aura of this LP.
Creeping back in with over the piano without hesitation, “Fuck is wrong with me? The Fuck is wrong with you? We can cook up the beef what the fuck you wanna do, ni**a I got gunners too…” The lyrics actually get more merciless from there, to really capture the energy of SHIT IS REAL, you have to listen and immerse yourself in that beat produced by SaveOne; also producing JUST RHYME, the 13th track. A turning point for the LP as it climaxes into its title track MERCILESS, a collaboration with Aliaz UnknoN beautifully harmonizing for the track.
Getting into the more introspective and melodic tracks, boasting lyrics like, “How the fuck can we love built on survival, lookin for whats next, has got us all suicidal, following these false idols, ignoring whats in the bible, we’re reaching out for revivals in a world that’s homicidal.” NIGHTMARES is a favorite, for its amazing acoustic instrumental and its deep thinking lyricism. Giving you another breather before getting into deeper retrospection on EVERYTHING I’VE EVER KNOWN, singing in the chorus “This is all I ever wanted to be, since a kid the microphone has been haunting my dreams, and as exhaustin’ it seems, I’m still caught in a scene, trying to make it out the basement with a thought and scheme“
Altogether, the album is meant to be listened to continuously in order, but each song can still be picked off individually. Listening to it in its entirety feels like you have experienced a movie. The efforts that put this masterpiece together are credit to not just SaveOne & Demo, but the talented collaborating artists Emcee Prototype, Brown Lucci, Juan Zarate and Aliaz UnknoN. Of course you cannot forget the quality created behind the scenes with production by BugNBeats, aside from the two SaveOne tracks, and having the project recorded at Beetle Studios. This LP is definitely a standout project for 2020.
The DJ is the back bone for any artist or venue, especially when it comes to Hip Hop. A selfless title, the DJ makes sure the party is entertained, playing and promoting music from a wide variety of artists and genres. Even during lock down, while all live performing artists and venues are held back, the DJ is thriving still, through live streaming and mixes. Artists like Na$im Williams move to take advantage of the time, connecting with artists and putting his city on.
Na$im has been putting many artists on for a while, and some prominent names too, as he juggles music production as well. Creating a combination of boom bap and soulful beats, his production has taken him from the East Coast in New York, to the West Coast to LA. He has produced tracks for many Chicago artists like the Savemoney collective, ProbCause, Rich Jones, Lili K and more. All the while Djing for various Chicago nightlife spots, opening up for the likes of NaS, Travis Scott, Vic Spencer, and popular names; Na$im does not skip a beat.
Today he premieres his latest release here at Ever Evolved, where we promote Chicago; Na$im delivers just that, all in an hour long mix. From start to finish, you hear nothing but local Chicago Hip Hop, Rap & Soul from the best artists in the city, many being unreleased tracks. Starting off gritty with DRUGS by DocSupreme, transitioning into the R&B vibe with GOODNIGHT by Sisi Dior, for a nice balance in energy. He turns it up a bit with a raw beat and quick lyricism by Radcliff Music, and gets even more hype with next track, MONEY CALLING, by WorldInKaos. He keeps it going like this throughout the mix, promoting popular artists in the city likeMOECYRUS, Novatore, Vic Spencer, as well as Ever Evolved artists Radcliff, RhymSter, JaitheArtist, Essse, Wilhelm Duke, J-Bose and BeatrixKiddo. The smooth transitions ensures a quality hour of hip hop music, from artists in our own backyard, this mix carries a real vibe throughout.
Utilizing the cutting edge crooning that we know and love from Austin Fillmore, he hits a heartfelt vibe on his latest record, ON MY OWN. “Trappings on my mind I feel at home, demons in my room when I’m alone, lone, lone,” this specific part of the hook evokes many contemplative thoughts and feelings. Every lyric of the chorus and verses fit together seamlessly. You will find yourself starting this song again as soon as its over.
“I be too fucked up, I can’t answer the phone,” sometimes brutal honesty can make for memorable lyricism, and it is paired well with an attractive melody that will make it stick even more. He goes on to flip a popular line into his own catchy style with, “You think you the best I ever had!” He sings in the second verse of the single, “I don’t really trust this shit, I don’t really move like that.” Considering Austin Fillmore dropped this track during quarantine, we whole-heartedly feel the frustrations being sung about in ON MY OWN.
Starting out the track with, “Live Open, Vividly and Endless,” to spell out L.O.V.E., Rhino the Neurosurgeon got into our brains with ease, no doubt. Over a funky, old school beat, reminiscent of 90’s hip hop, R&B crossover. Rhino emphasizes love, in a time when hate & fear can easily consume us. This track is to be a stem of his upcoming album, BAD WEEDS, picking on the idea of the good overcoming their perceived flaws, citing the quote, “Even flowers can’t pick their weeds,” often. Through music and L.O.V.E. let awareness and healing begin, let Rhino remind you!
Coming from Chicago, it is natural to expect quality, and Lassai can speak for most of us when he says, “If it aint real, I don’t want to waste your time,” in one of his recent releases, SUPERFICIAL, regarding relationships. Being a queer artist in a big city, one would recognize quality, if you cannot tell from Lassai’s fashion sense in his photos. Not stopping there, the track in it self is pristine and damn near angelic with light string instrumentation, piano chords, along a melody and serenading vocals. When Lassai says “Follow me, worshiping, quality over quantity“, you do not give it a second guess.
The beautiful acoustic ballad, produced by Br8keboy and written by Lassai, is to be followed up by another track, NO SHADE. This time bringing in a couple of talented artists, Petty and Juice Waters, to collaborate over a Lo-fi beat. Petty and true to her name, she pops in after Lassai’s lead, “I get a message, been thinkin bout me, want to get reconnected… didn’t respond, taught him a lesson“. Once again Lassai reads our minds, with a catchy chorus singing, “No Shade, when I say… It’s a no for me, can’t have me going crazy.” Juice Waters flow compliments the aura of the track, and to put it altogether, these are worthy of a replay. A collab piece and a single preview of an upcoming EP to be called WONDERLAND?
With an absurdly long but perfect intro, MOECYRUS has some things to get off his chest with this dusty boom bap record produced by greensllime. Visuals were done by the consistent and hard working Darko Visuals aka Mikal Bae. The song is called BOOTLEG and the video has the 90’s hand held camcorder aesthetic. Thematically speaking, this is a well thought out project for specifically following all of these themes visually.
MOECYRUS starts out with, “This ain’t even rap, it’s a game of popularity. All these people too close in my vicinity. They show me love its a front, they really envy me.” This demonstrates his thoughts and feelings on the local scene and how people disingenuously navigate the rap game. He ends the music video leaving the listener with this powerful statement, “That ain’t no MOECYRUS shit, that’s a bootleg!” Safe to say if you want the real rap and not the copy cat, bump MOECYRUS records just to be sure!
Each generation has changed and adapted to what we would consider a film scary, but where and when did it all start? Audiences of today dare to laugh at director William Peter Blattys‘ the Exorcist, with Linda Blair, but in its day it would have caused spectators to suffer heart attacks in theater seats! While contemporary films, the Conjuring and Insidious, take reign in supernatural horrors, many people today take notice to horror films that highlight cultural, social-political differences through metaphors in insidious manners, like director Jordan Peeles’ films GET OUT & US.
While its true the topic can be very subjective, it brings up many debates on what we generally consider scary, and which methods and ideas that produce horror is best? Many would consider blood, gore and violence, with films like Final Destination, Thirteen Ghosts and Resident Evil, to be the ultimate scare; but to others it is just gross at worst. Slasher flicks like Jeepers Creepers, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street tend to procure more startling and suspenseful, paranoia responses from people, and critics would say its too violent. Then we have narrative horror classics like the Shining, or American Psycho, that appeal to the mind but, you guessed it, they can be boring to some viewers. Even fantasy flicks like Pans Labrynth and Eraserhead can be pegged for being too far fetched or disturbing.
Regardless of what you find scary in a horror film, or what you think makes a horror film good, there is a flavor for everyone; and it generally seems to change generationally. For contemporary horror fans, the culture thriller sends shivers down our spines to the nature of our reality, and the people among us. Generations in the midst of Y2K scares, and the rise of psycho serial killers, are confronted with doomsday and slasher flicks. But the older generations, closer to when it all started, have an appeal to more spiritual antagonists.
While magicians and deities are easily disproven and overlooked, older generations did not have access to the information we hold today. Religion, magic, folklore and tradition has long been the center and foundation of many house holds and belief systems. Up until the counter culture movement, adults, religious traditions and law dominated the mainstream. Well up until the 70’s there have been countless horror flicks with the main antagonist being some evil monster, alien or super natural being; and looking at the very first horror films can attest to that.
Today the first horrors to be produced can be attributed as more art pieces of history for its genre, but in their day horror films were pivitol; especially to the thrill seekers and gothic idealogues. Back when tradition and religion kept people fearfully moral, saving their souls in the after life from judgement, to be damned to hell, was their main concern. The first film, as evident in its title, played on this fear, and put in out on display. The House of the Devil, aka the Haunted Castle (US), aka the Devil’s Castle (UK), made its premiere in 1896 as the first horror film in the world.
The House of the Devil is a French short byGeorges Méliès, only about 4 minutes in length (a generous length for that era), and filmed outside on his property with painted scenery. It was released as a silent film, and during it would be accompanied by a music score. The two actors would be settling in a castle, while super natural occurrences would startle them, all brought on by the Devil himself. While the film contained many horror movie elements in such a short period of time like ghosts, transformations, moving objects and magic, it would be mostly presented for comedic purposes.
A few years later in 1908 on March 7th, the first American horror film would be produced, and it would be presented right here in Chicago, where culture was cultivating on theatre plays, music and opera houses. The Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and is widely accepted as the first version of the story. It is an adaptation on George F. Fish and Luella Forepaugh‘s 1897 four-act play, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Or a Mis-Spent Life. That play is its own sense is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson 1886 novel, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Its plot would be split into 4 scenes; a Dr. Jekyll would seduce a Ministers daughter, killing her and the Minister after transforming into Mr. Hyde, because of a potion he is addicted to. Middle scenes would entail Dr. Jekyll revealing his transformation, surprising his friend, and in the final scene Dr. Jekyll kills himself, after running out of his potion, and struggling with grief. The 16 minute film would be hailed for its production feats for its time, as Dr. Jekyll’s transformation was done in one take, pulling it off by hunching over in agony, and pulling the wig over his forehead. The good vs evil duality of the play made it very popular, unfortunately it is considered to be a lost film and no copy of it exists today, and no film scholar ever reported seeing it.
Mista Dent is back with new music releases. The Chicago artists unique style can bring you back to the old school similar to boom bap, as his beats are riddled with raw, clever lyricism and unique flows. This can be true to many of his tracks, as with SOUL IN THE HOLE THE IN SOUL, and even more so with HAND ME MA HAMMER. Mista Dent does not really need much more than a kick and a snare to make a good track, his energy and abstract flows does enough to keep you hooked in and bumpin’ your head.
With the the delicate sounds of her voice, Mama Yaya expresses her soul in her newest music video and single HEAVY. Getting ready to drop her first EP, she has been making big moves in preparation for her first project. With countless dozens of covers on her youtube channel, she recently got into original songwriting and creating music videos starting with GET UP. Do not let the tone of her latest song fool you, her soul and voice is powerful enough to impress the likes of Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and dozens of other audiences that heard her voice at its full potential at venues around Chicago.